For Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday is the moment to hone China’s international status. Carefully choreographed sights in Beijing help the game succeed on time in a pandemic and project an image of mature global power that will not yield to Western criticism.
And for Xi personally, the Olympics are a one-year showcase event, which could culminate in his securing a new term of power. Establish his position As the most powerful leader in China since Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The Congress of the Communist Party later this year is expected to break the past assumption that Chinese leaders will settle for 10 years of governance and give Xi another five years as general secretary.
The opening of the tournament is, in effect, “a celebration of his decade of power, almost like a National Foundation Day celebration, but pretending to be an international event,” said a fellow at the Center of the Asian Association. One Geremie R. Barmé said. Sino-US relations. “Xi Jinping is celebrating the superiority of the Chinese system.”
Hosting the Olympics is a big problem for any country, and Xi leaves few opportunities. He has been inspecting the competition venue since 2017 At least 5 timesAnd he has Instructions issued on a regular basis According to state news media, to officials preparing for an influx of athletes.
“The world is looking at China and China is ready,” Xi said. Told the International Olympic Committee On thursday.
The Olympics are part of a pageant of events that could help smooth the path to Xi’s new term, calling him a powerful and respected politician to dispel criticism from Western leaders. I will promote you. The other is China’s first space station..
“In China, people are safe and it’s part of the message that people act swiftly when they see an outbreak, which means they can host big events like the Olympics.” Said professor Lana Mitter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese history and politics from Oxford University. “There is also a much stronger message:’We are no longer the supplicant trying to enter the room. We are defining the rules for what happens in the room.”